The benefits of working remotely or from home have been highlighted over recent years as the desire from employees, freelancers and those starting a new business for flexibility, autonomy, a reduced commute and a more productive work environment have worked their way to the top of the priority list. However, these workers are now realising that there is something missing from their domesticated workplace – social interaction!
The importance of both a professional and social network cannot be underestimated and is why we are seeing co-working spaces increasingly embracing both with organised member only events and community apps that members can attend and use as they need.
The changing nature of the way in which we work means that, while we may not need or want to be social all the time, having the option is vital and provides a crucial level of support for those new start-ups and corporate remote workers or freelancers who otherwise would be working at home or in a coffee shop with very little interaction.
Finding the balance of social interaction is important, for many the open plan nature of a traditional corporate office or even coffee shop is becoming unproductive and distracting. However, the isolated nature of working from home may be too far towards the other extreme. Co-working centres provide a happy medium where the combination of open space mixed with quiet areas and booths allows for both interaction and autonomy when you need it.
For start-ups in particular, expanding a social and professional network can be critical to the success of a business. Serviced office provides have recognised this and are expanding their offer to support the social growth of members by encouraging interaction and collaboration. In particular, we have seen the likes of Huckletree, Uncommon and Kreativ House offer a diverse range of events and workshops at different times during the day from exhibitions and drinks events to expert talks and advice forums, or they simply offer free cake Tuesdays to encourage their co-workers to meet and socialise.
Larger providers such as WeWork and The Office Group not only offer similar social experiences, but also have a dedicated app for members where they can engage with others in the community, share and seek advice or even collaborate on projects.
While the office environment will continue to evolve as technology develops, the need for human interaction will remain. Those serviced office providers at the forefront of co-working have recognised this and are cementing a supportive community into their overall infrastructure that will develop with the requirements of its users.